While summer Pride festivals are a great opportunity for celebration, they're also annual reminders of LGBTQ history and the important strides that activists have made in the fight for full equality. In that spirit, Motor City Pride is hosting a Virtual June Pride event on Friday, June 6, from 3 to 5 p.m. in order to "spotlight the LGBTQ community as plans for a physical festival continue to evolve" in light of new coronavirus health concerns.
"It's a two-hour event that we're planning, and during the event, we've asked eight of the performers who we were going to have at the festival to do a little four-minute segment," said Motor City Pride Chairperson Dave Wait. "We have four different hosts who are going to be filling in between those segments on air and talking about the things that we do at the festival. We've asked, and are in the process of asking, some elected officials and celebrities to submit little welcomes and greetings and that type of thing."
Wait said that those interested in tracking updates for both this event and upcoming plans for a 2020 Motor City Pride sometime later in the year are encouraged to consistently check back on motorcitypride.org, which is being consistently developed to highlight upcoming plans.
"All of our vendors are invited to submit information so people can be connected with them in a virtual marketplace," he said. "We're going to have a kind of a live Instagram social media feed so that people can make comments, we're working to have some are submissions to be a section on the website, and then we're also [displaying] our history that shows our movement, primarily in Michigan, over the past 50 years."
Ideally, he said, the virtual event will be as close of a replication to a physical day spent at the festival as possible. And because attendees won't be able to join together this year, Wait said that the organization is encouraging social media involvement to show individual Pride support at home.
"Probably at the start of Memorial Day weekend, we'll be asking people just to submit to us via social media what they're doing during Pride month. Maybe they're decorating their house or putting up colors at their home," Wait said. "And we want to have individuals sending in their artwork. … Art can be very healing during these challenging times we have."
Wait added that anyone, even those who aren't artists, are encouraged to share their artwork because Pride is a celebration designed to bring people together.
"This is a celebration until we can meet again so that we can all connect to celebrate and continue working toward full equality for everybody in the state of Michigan," he said.
Keep up with updates online at motorcitypride.org.